Posts tagged: smoking

How To Quit Smoking Today

No Smoking Sign

I quit smoking on January 8, 2001. I smoked for 31 years. I am going to tell you how I did it so that it might encourage or inspire you to quit too. Sometime in December of 2000 a co-worker asked me if I wanted to make a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking. I said yes, I’m ready to try to quit again.

He picked January 8th as the quit date. It was the Monday after the first of the year. I bought a box of patches. I also had two people in the office who encouraged me to quit.

On the morning of January 8th, I put a patch on my arm and went to work. My fellow quitter continued to smoke and did not make any attempt to quit. As far as I know, he still smokes. I just stuck with it. In the office, my two friends kept encouraging me and congratulating me on how well I was doing. After two months, I decided that I could stop wearing the patch.

I’m not sure how I knew that. I just thought that I was ready. I saved the last one and carried it around with me wherever I went. Just in case. I never used it and eventually stopped carrying it around.

I am so glad that I finally quit smoking.  I always thought that even if I could quit, I would always want a cigarette. That has never been true. I have no desire for a cigarette at all.

Every once in a while (once a year?) I think about it and it passes in a few seconds. I am around smokers all the time and it doesn’t bother me. I wish I had never smoked that first cigarette. You don’t need cigarettes and they don’t do anything good for you.

Smoking is just a terrible addiction and you don’t really understand that until you quit. If I can quit smoking, you can too. I smoked constantly. I never went anywhere without my cigarettes. They ruled my life.

At one time, some people thought that going “cold turkey” was better than using a nicotine substitute to quit. I just suspected that or sensed that from some people. They thought that you were somehow a better person if you quit “cold turkey” and less of a person if you used a substitute. That’s a bunch of nonsense anyway. It is perfectly acceptable to get help to break your addiction. Six months after you quit, it won’t matter anyway.

I started smoking in 1969 when I was 16 years old in high school. I had very bad acne in my teenage years and thought that if I smoked I would eat less candy. That was pretty stupid logic, but I was a teenager. I didn’t inhale the smoke when I first started, but eventually someone taught me how. I still remember where I was when I learned that. Also, when I first started inhaling, I got dizzy from the smoke. I guess I thought that was a good thing at the time. My school actually had a smoking area in the parking lot where you could go and smoke. I remember being dizzy for the beginning of my first class after lunch.

My first attempt at quitting came when I was in my twenties. My father always encouraged me to quit. He read about a Dr. Funk in Philadelphia who had been to China and brought back a form of acupuncture to help people quit smoking. A group of us, including my father who didn’t smoke cigarettes, went to the hospital in Philadelphia. We listened to a short lecture and then had a surgical clip placed on our ear. It lightly pinched for a second while going on, but all in all it was relatively painless. For me, it was quite amazing. Wearing that clip just killed my desire for a cigarette. I did not want to smoke anymore.

I wish I could have left it on forever, but I went back to the hospital to have it taken off after a week. That was the prescribed amount of time to wear it. Supposedly, the nicotine addiction was broken after a week and the device was no longer useful. The first time I ended up quitting for a couple of weeks. This stop smoking technique was soon offered at other hospitals. I tried this method two more times over the years. It was always a good way to kick start a quitting program. I knew that I wouldn’t want a cigarette for the week that it was in my ear. The rest was up to me.

I tried cold turkey a few times too. Merriam-Webster defines “cold turkey” as the abrupt complete cessation of the use of an addictive drug. Once I quit for three months and I thought I had my smoking addiction beat. I really felt bad smoking again after quitting for three months.

I chewed Nicorette gum for a while too at some point. I don’t remember how long I was on that. It was probably at least a month.

When I finally quit for good using the patch, I also took Wellbutrin for the first week. I talked to my doctor and he wrote me a prescription. I was a little crazy on Wellbutrin and stopped taking it after a week. It made me paranoid and I would occasionally shout things out for no apparent reason. That wasn’t good and I stopped taking it.

I was a little angry at the fact that I had to pay so much for the patches. I figured that I had paid so much in cigarette taxes over the years that the patches should be subsidized by the government or the tobacco companies. No such luck. The Marlboro Man wasn’t going to help me quit. I’m glad I invested in the patches though. I have saved a lot of money over the past eight years. At $4.00 per pack, 365 days a year times 8 years, I saved $11,680. I smoked more than a pack a day though usually, so I saved even more.

Some friends of mine have used Chantix to quit recently. I have never used it, but they recommend it. It’s worth looking into.

A recent story in the New York Times says that most people attempt to quit 8 to 10 times before they are successful and that 21% of the U.S. population still smokes. That is way too many. If you have tried to quit before and failed, it is worth it to try again.  Do it today. Right now. You don’t want to be the last smoker in America do you?

Decide which nicotine replacement method you want to try and get a supply of them. Find a friend or co-worker and ask them to support you. Throw those cigarettes in the garbage where they belong. Let’s put the cigarette makers out of business due to lack of interest in their evil product.

I didn’t know that my last attempt to quit was going to be successful. I just knew that I wanted to quit because it was so bad for my health. Keep trying. You can do it.

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